Last Friday, I was doing the intern thing as usual. I was sitting with the investigative reporter helping him tally (by hand. Actual tally marks on paper. Woah) all of the transgressions of Metro bus and train operators in the past five years. The numbers are crazy. I'll probably have more on that after the story breaks. Anyway, sitting at the table. Tallying. And then the producer comes in. He asks me if I can come in Sunday afternoon instead of my usual Saturday morning. He wants someone to go down to a sports pub in Cleveland Park and ask fans about the Redskins game.
Some background about myself. I am a curious person, interested in many many areas of live, academia, and culture. I know a lot of useless facts. My friends used to joke that they keep me around because I know the answer to life's most trivial questions. I know, for example, why cats' eyes glow at night and I can say "the crayfish broke the boat of yesteryear" in French.
But one thing I don't know anything about is football. Granted, I know a little about the Redskins. I know the newsy stuff that drops down on the wires. I know they are really bad. I know they recently brought in an offensive consultant (which offends me...haha bad pun, sorry). I also know that the Virginia lottery now offers a Redskins scratch card. Plus, i know that there's a bit of controversy over the name of the team.
On the other hand, ask me how many points a field goal is worth, and I can't tell you. Are they even worth points? Field goal is football, right? Home run?
So I came in on Sunday and I try to catch up on the game. I had one eye on the TV, one eye on Redskins twitter, one eye on my phone, because I kept texting my little brother about football plays.
I went over to talk to the sports guy on duty. He told me the game was a pretty boring one (I thought so, too, but I wasn't going to say anything). The redskins were winning, for the moment. he told me to ask the fans about offense and defense. That sounded good to me.
So I set sail for Cleveland Park. I had to walk there, but it was a beautiful day. I headed south with hopes of hitting the neighborhood. to be safe, I had the name and address of the sports bar. My brother told me I had a couple of hours left in the game (!) so I was fine on time.
When I got to Cleveland Park, I walked one way. Then the other. Then I trekked until I hit the zoo (too far). After that, I crossed the street and did it again. Being one of those obnoxious iPhone users, I used the map on my phone, following the little blue dot (me) to the little red pin (the pub). No luck.
More background information: I have a famously bad sense of direction. I once was trying to get to Iowa City from Des Moines (insert corn joke if you must). I ended up in Minnesota. That might not sound so bad, except one is in the east and the other in the north.
So naturally, I just thought my navigation was off. But after awhile I noticed that the flower vendor was staring at me. I'd passed him about twenty times, microphone with mic flag in hand.
I pulled out my phone again. I googled the pub. OK, I wasn't crazy. The place had gone bankrupt and had closed. Plus, I noted, the pub was underground anyway, making it harder to find. That last part I added just to make myself feel better.
So I found another sports bar. I walked in, painfully aware that I'm underage and know nothing about football. I looked around. Everyone was wearing team jerseys. But, ah fate! Only three Redskins jersys in the bunch. The game had ended.
Now I would have thought that you're at a sports bar, the game ends, you hang around awhile anyway to rant about plays and finish your beer. No. Apparently if your team loses, you clear out, IMMEDIATELY.
I got one guy to talk to me. I was supposed to get at least five.
So I called the newsroom, admitted defeat, and walked back.
At least it was a pretty day. Better luck next time?